INFO: Garmin Mapsource Error Upon Install

When I first received my GPS, I was overwhelmed with excitement -- for one, over the fact that I got a very nice gift, and the overwhelming urge to use it the following day. But it took a bit more effort to upload a compatible and usable map to the Garmin nuvi 255W. For me to be able to use the GPS I was told that I needed mapsource.

So off I went and downloaded training center and then mapsource from Garmin's software and update site. After installing training center and mapsource, I launched mapsource. And.. ERROR! Little by little I started losing interest in using the Garmin nuvi 255W GPS. The error message:

Mapsource could not find any installed MapSource map products.
Please install one or more MapSource map products and start MapSource again.

You will find a screenshot similar to the one below.

The search for answers got me nowhere. Until I found out another way to upload a usable map to the nuvi 255W. The solution was to simply copy the gmapsupp.img to the \Garmin folder of the SD card on the nuvi. Still, it puzzled me why MapSource would not work on my desktop. So the quest to make MapSource to work continued.

I was almost ready to give up on MapSource until I remembered that I had Process Monitor. As it turns out, the MapSource installer copies the base map on registry keys on HKLM\SOFTWARE\Garmin\MapSource\Families. While the MapSource application binary is reading from the registry key HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Garmin\Mapsource\Families.

As it turns out, the problems was that the desktop I was using was running Windows 7 x64. MapSource is running in WOW64 mode and finds keys in the wrong branch of the registry. I then exported the registry branch HKLM\SOFTWARE\Garmin\MapSource\Families as installed by MapSource. Then, opened the exported .reg file in notepad, inserted "Wow6432Node" on the appropriate keys, and imported the modified .reg file back to the registry.

Did MapSource work this time? Yes. And the screenshot of the default MapSource application is below.

Just to expound a little on the procedure above, replace every instance of HKLM\SOFTWARE\Garmin\MapSource\Families with HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Garmin\Mapsource\Families on the exported file. That did the trick for me.

Then, I tried loading OSM_PHIL map and MapSource successfully uploaded it to the GPS unit.

I can now backup waypoints and tracks from my nuvi. And I enjoy using the Garmin nuvi 255W since MapSource has empowered it with more options and functionality.

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